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Kent State University Helps Launch Portage County Emergency Preparedness Program

Posted Oct. 21, 2013 | Emily Komorowski
enter photo description
Kent State University’s Flash joined forces with other
local mascots to mark National Preparedness Month and
emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness.

Kent State University’s Flash joined forces with other local mascots at a press conference in Portage County on Sept. 24 to mark National Preparedness Month and emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness.

As this was a countywide initiative, the Portage County Board of Commissioners wanted to choose mascots from local colleges in the county to help with the event.

Kent State’s Flash, Hiram College’s Terrier and Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Nate, the Walking Whale mascot, aided first responders in demonstrating how to build an emergency home kit for disasters. The kit was then donated to the Freedom House, a residential facility for veterans in Kent.

The Portage County commissioners and the county’s Emergency Management Agency Council observed National Preparedness Month by also launching an online, social media and print education program at the conference.

The program, Portage Prepares, is a new, locally based program led by the Portage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management under the auspices of Portage County commissioners.

“National Preparedness Month is a great opportunity for us to reach out to citizens and get their attention with messages about preparing at home for a disaster that is relevant to this corner of Ohio,” says Amie Cajka, director of community relations for the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County.

Portage Prepares, a collaborative project that has been in the making for nearly a year, will introduce a new edition of its newsletter on a regular basis with an updated website and social media that will regularly highlight preparing for specific emergencies. Print versions of the newsletter will be distributed through community organizations and groups.

The project was made possible by a committee of local agency and institution staff and volunteers who represent the Portage County Health Department, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County, Portage County Information Technology Services, Kent City Health Department, Robinson Memorial Hospital and Kent State’s College of Public Health with consultation from Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Media representative Bob Long and Randolph Township Trustee Susan White are individuals who volunteer on the committee, says Cajka.

“Time and time again, we have seen how social media and the Internet are helping communities to prepare for and work through disasters,” Cajka says. “The focus of Portage Prepares is to help Portage County residents prepare for emergencies, survive and then thrive in the recovery stage using technology.”

For more information about Portage Prepares, visit www.co.portage.oh.us/portageprep or contact Cajka at amiec@mental-health-recovery.org. Visit the Portage Prepares Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PortagePrepares or follow Portage Prepares on Twitter at @PortagePrep.